Generally favorable reviews - based on 47 Critic Reviews

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 44 out of 47
  2. Negative: 0 out of 47
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  1. 100
    Fight Night's Career mode should be the model that other boxing games should follow...Hands down, Fight Night 2004 is the victor in all weight classes this year. [May 2004, p.84]
  2. Play Magazine
    But what's truly astounding about Fight Night is the damage inflicted on the Boxers...Using state-of-the-art facial mo-caps, players will see a boxer's face bruise, swell and get cut during fights. [Apr 2004, p.72]
  3. A deftly blended mix of strategy and timing, a game that not only remembers that boxing isn't just about brawn and speed it's also about strategy.
  4. The innovative Total Punch Control is a milestone for the genre and while most likely serve as a template for future boxing games.
  5. 92
    EA have created a control system which is evolutionary and the game play is engrossing. To me, Fight Night 2004 is the most realistic experience and polished boxing game that has ever been created.
  6. It's a great simulation, with excellent training and a developed career mode.
  7. A brutally lifelike affair that firmly drives home the fact that 21st-century videogaming is rapidly approaching an era of photorealism. [Apr 2004, p.81]
  8. It's by no means an easy game to get to grips with, and if you're after a title that simply lets you hit people, we'd suggest something radically different, but if you want to understand why the sweet science is so sweet, Fight Night 2004 is your current and reigning heavyweight champion of the boxing game scene.
  9. Succeeds in creating a completely new formula for the sweet science. [Apr 2004, p.88]
  10. Just about every feature in Fight Night lives up to the hype and feels right, if not outstanding.
  11. Cheat Code Central
    One of those rare treats that comes along once in a long while. Get it while it's hot.
  12. 90
    Make no mistake about it, Fight Night 2004, is by far the best boxing game ever. Period. The new total punch control system adds an unprecedented amount of realism to the genre without sacrificing any of the fun.
  13. Have you ever wondered who would win a fight between Roy Jones Jr. and Muhammad Ali? Alternatively, have you ever wanted to mimic Rocky and become a contender? EA Sports gives you that chance in EA Sports' Fight Night 2004.
  14. Official Xbox Magazine
    The greatest boxing game you've ever played - but not the great boxing you will ever play. [Apr 2004, p.71]
  15. If they can tweak the secondary graphics and add more music and custom soundtracks they will have the ultimate boxing game.
  16. FN2004's brilliant analog stick punching system gives boxing its own genre - this is much more than just a beat 'em up with big red gloves and silly shorts on.
  17. 89
    Cemented in the hall of sporting classics alongside titles like "Pro Evolution Soccer" and "Tiger Woods," Fight Night is a true modern classic.
  18. While the control scheme is a bit tricky to get down, once you get the hang of it, you won't want to go back to button meshing ever again. The career mode is one of the most comprehensive modes ever designed, even though it is limited by a retirement age.
  19. Fight Night 2004 makes huge strides compared to EA's previous Knockout Kings games. While there is plenty of room for improvement, EA has done an excellent job making those who want a sim-style boxing title happy.
  20. Fight Night does what any good "sports sim" should: It teaches you how to excel at the sport it sims while still remaining fun, somehow. [May 2004, p.87]
  21. 85
    Its incredibly diverse control system is implemented into a truly enjoyable game that has enough simulation elements to please boxing fans and strong gameplay that can be appreciated by a diverse crowd.
  22. 85
    The graphics and control system are almost worth the price of admission all by themselves -- it's rare to find a sports game have this much pick-up-and-play addiction in this age of sim-oriented titles.
  23. The gameplay represents the perfect collaboration between arcade-style fighting and boxing simulation, and will remain fun even after your career is brought to a screeching halt.
  24. I was the opposite of an encyclopedia of boxing. Now however, if given the opportunity to watch it on TV, I could actually sit down and have a gander at a few rounds with some interest. This shows just how good Fight Night 2004 is.
  25. 84
    Not only has it created an all-new level of control that makes every pugilism title before it look like child's play, it's also created a mechanic so flexible and natural that it should very well change the way developers look at the sport from now on.
  26. The Total Punch Control system is the most intuitive and natural boxing scheme ever invented, and will be the standard that other boxing (perhaps even other fighting) games will be judged by.
  27. At first I was ready to send my controller sailing out my front window, but patience prevailed and I found myself immersed in the feel of the game.
  28. Computer Games Magazine
    By far, it's more fun to play against a human player with experience, than to play against the weak A.I. - the one area of the game that was glossed over. [Aug 2004, p.6]
  29. The total control punching system needs some work and some smoothing out, but it's still got some playability and fun.
  30. It's dense and intimidating, and it demands practice; give it time, and button-mashing will no longer seem relevant in boxing games.
  31. But the game does have drawbacks. The road to the top is a long one and things become repetitive long before you get the chance to glove up against "The Greatest". And training - which is essential to boost your power, stamina and chin - becomes a real chore.
  32. The best boxing game I have ever played. Fight Night's career mode and Total Punch Control are two features that improve on EA's previous boxing games and help take the game over the top. This is a great effort by EA.
  33. Once you get used to it, this game becomes both intuitive and satisfying.
  34. 80
    Sadly, Fight Night has left out back-alley options like fixing fights, in-fight cannibalism or even a seemingly drunk Larry Merchant doddering about the ring during the post-fight interviews. There's always next year.
  35. A huge success for boxing fans and gamers alike, and is well worth a purchase, but with lackluster commentary, no custom soundtrack support, and, like all current EA titles, no Xbox Live support, it falls just short of the greatness that could have been.
  36. The physics are a little clunky at first but ultimately make the game feel a whole lot more natural with a little practice.
  37. Instead of the usual push-button pugilism, throw punches using the analog stick-the direction and speed of the stick determine the swing; the trigger controls handle bobbing, weaving, and blocking.
  38. Visually striking and completely engrossing, EA's latest for boxing fans is tremendously faithful to the sport. Granted, the artificial intelligence is a little lacking in certain areas and Xbox owners deserve an online component.
  39. 80
    Be forewarned: your Street Fighter skills will be made irrelevant within roughly 10 seconds. Here, tactical forethought and impeccable timing count for way more than brute force.
  40. It appears as all the effort of Fight Night 2004 went into the boxing controls, and the career mode was added as an afterthought. Not that this is necessarily a bad thing.
  41. Playboy
    Fight Night adds a bit of bob and weave through a control system that allows you to swivel your fighter at the hips. [Apr 2004, p.38]
  42. EA has finally managed to make a boxing game about skill and strategy rather than the random flailings of our opposable digits. And it's fun too. Unfortunately the game feels wildly incomplete in its overall presentation with a very short list of features, poor music selection, boring levels and no Xbox online component.
  43. By virtue of its impressive new control scheme and solid delivery, Fight Night 2004 doesn't really have any peers and by default can be declared the unanimous champ. However, it still needs a much better single-player Career mode before it can stand toe to toe with other, deeper sports games.
  44. Offline play is extremely polished, and worth price of admission alone. I could not make that statement without Total Punch Control, as it makes the game even more challenging. Online is a great bonus, but it seemed rather rushed near the end.
    The slow, repetitive action is the knockout blow that stops this contender from ever being the greatest. [XBM]
  46. Edge Magazine
    As a reinvention it's a resounding success, and there are no pretenders to its comprehensiveness [May 2004, p.107]
  47. 70
    A new revolution in the boxing genre. EA have taken the brave step of totally disbanding twenty years of evolution and creating a control system that breathes fresh air into a genre which has stagnated for some time.

Awards & Rankings

#24 Most Discussed Xbox Game of 2004
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 24 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 24
  2. Negative: 3 out of 24
  1. Feb 25, 2021
    By Far the worst Career mode in boxing history, your opponent will never push the fight and will run from you for 10 rounds straight causingBy Far the worst Career mode in boxing history, your opponent will never push the fight and will run from you for 10 rounds straight causing for a frustrating and long match's. The second con is the amount of fights in the year which is 3-4 fight each year and its likely you will move up 2-3 ranks per year which leaves you getting a title fight at 35-40 yrs of age when your ready to retire. All in all the career mode for fight night 2004 is trash and a waste of time. Full Review »
  2. ArwinD.
    Sep 28, 2005
    This game is just great! I didnt want to put so much money to buy FN: round2... so i bought this one (because i've heard that those are This game is just great! I didnt want to put so much money to buy FN: round2... so i bought this one (because i've heard that those are almost the same game) I haven't never played anything that has so good worth for my money! At my first day, i played 4h + 4h + 2h of this game! I think i haven't ever played anything that much (except halo1) I love the carreer mode and the controls... but when i started to play, controls were a bit hard... but now i've get used to it. Graphics are nice too... Full Review »
  3. MatMori
    Aug 17, 2004
    MY SCORE 85/100 I was a little hesistant to pick up EA'S FIGHT NIGHT 2004, because I already had EA'S KNOCKOUT KINGS 2002. In the MY SCORE 85/100 I was a little hesistant to pick up EA'S FIGHT NIGHT 2004, because I already had EA'S KNOCKOUT KINGS 2002. In the end I'm glad I purchased the game because it's a whole nother experience.++++ Total Punch Control is a new concept that disregards the use of the common button mashing fighting style, now you throw punches using the right analog stick. This changes the gameplay since boxers no longer throw 4 jabs in less then 2 seconds (KOKings). The new innovative design is great; a right jab is thrown by pushing the analog stick up at a 45' the right hook is controlled by moving the stick to the right and thown upwards in a 1/8thcircle, and the uppercut is a contolled by rolling the stick down to the right and around up to 3/8th circle. Just imagine the right thumbstick is the boxers hand and the pattern of any punch relates to the movement of the stick. The left stick controls your boxer, the Left trigger (when held) and the combined motion of the left analog stick will sway the upper body of the boxer, allowing him to bob, weave, duck, and doddge. The Right trigger is used for blocking. New in FN is the ability to counter punche, by holding the Rtrigger and moving the Left analog stick you can push punches away which leaves the opponent open to anything. Defense is really important, for it leads to a good offence. Another thing I loved about FN is the damage modeling, boxers now take damage better then KOKings, boxers get really trashed up. Bruises swell mostly over the eyes and nose. Cuts under the eyes eventually start bleeding, along with the nose and the uncommon lip. The new Create-a-boxer is pretty detailed, from different, shapes, sizes, widths, lengths, and enough hair sytles. The addition to rag doll physics is propbably the funniest and sadistic feature to add. Now when boxers get knocked out, the limbs go limp and the knees buckle under. The knockouts look twice as violent then KOKings and it's fasinating and demented to see bodies crumpling under the hit of a huge right hook. Probably the greatest feauture is when an opponent gets backed up in to the corner turnposts and gets knocked out. With the turnpost as a support your boxer can throw devastating punches to an ALREADY KNOCKED OUT OPPONENT! I've thrown 8 consecutive alternating hooks after the intial knockdown-it was extremely violent. With the awsome hit detection, rag doll physics (kneck and face reacted to each punch by swiveling and bending) and the sweat and blood exploding off the face turned into an incredible effect. The whole career mode was expanded from KOKings allowing you to buy extra shorts, tatoos, gloves, shoes, music, taunts, special moves, introduction effects, and women. The women just acompany your boxer to the ring and do some weird unsexy dances. The career also allows you to customize your boxer by having roughly 4 training exercise after each fight. In between rounds, stat cards pull up showing which % of punches were thrown and landed. ++++----There aren't too many serious problems with FN but one or two are beyond annoying. Sometimes during a fight the opponent (usually with a lot of agility) will continually and consitantly run away from you. During the whole match whether you chase or stand motionless he will continually circle around you which lasts more then 20 mintues until the fight finally ends. Out of the whole 20 mintues he might throw about 40 punches total. The punches your boxer throws rarely come in contact and those that do are sometimes blocked, it's ridiculous but thank god it doesn't happen often. Although I do like the blood, it looks fake when it squirts out, it looks like a straight 7inch solid glob of blood, very much like a Mortal Kombat game. The sweat looks great when it sprays off of the face after a hit, but when it rolls down off of the face it looks awkward. It looks like a screen is pasted on the face and it drips sweat drops like rainfall. The beads of sweat don't look right, and it rolls down to fast. It looks worse when the boxer is knocked out and lying on the floor, because the sweat still drops from forehead to chin, but it should drop from forehead and to the mat (gravity). FN does have a decent instnat REPLAY but what really let me down was that there are no SAVEABLE REPLAYS. The camera on the REPLAY system works well but it doesn't play any of the sound effects. The announcer of FN is Lil Tigger and I wish they stuck with KOKings announcers. Tigger has a hip-hop announcing style, but I didn't like much. He's repetitive and he doesn't do much to set the mood of the fight. I wish they stuck with KOKings on this one, the two announcers in KOKings were a lot better. The last problem I had is about the unlockables. I've been playing for a quite a while and unlocked the girls and music and entrance effects, but the special moves I haven't unlocked at all. I'm trying to figure it out but I can't unlock any of them.----====Total Punch Control is tough to learn, but after some practice it becomes second nature and soon your boxer will be throwing lefts and rights with ease and fluidity. Fight Night 2004, is a brutal, often fast paced, sometimes frustrating, frantic, boxing game. It has a decent amount of replay value since it's always funny to see what kind of shapes the bodies fall after a knockout. The sound effects are pretty good but I think KOKings had better 'smacking' and punching sounds. I liked this game and despite the few flaws I really enjoyed it, it's a nice improvement over KOKings.==== Full Review »